Windows XP themes for Windows 8.1 (or Windows 7)

Since Microsoft has finally put an end to support of the most popular Operating System it ever made (Brilliant), the Computer User Community at large is less than enthused. Many users who became comfortable with Windows XP did not relish the idea of learning a new Desktop and navigation scheme (look and feel). So they just stuck with XP and never bothered with Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8/8.1. Are they now faced with a steep learning curve? Maybe, maybe not…

Did you know recreating a Windows XP look and feel is possible for Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1?

While it requires a level of technical knowledge to do so, if you are fretting over what to do in a world without Windows XP, rest assured there is more than one way to make the desktop of the newer OS look a lot like Windows XP.

R.I.P. Windows XP

April 8, 2014:

R.I.P Windows XP

Today is the day that Microsoft officially pulled the plug on Windows XP…

While applauding Microsoft for the longevity of Windows XP is outside typical human nature, perhaps vilification of the company over it’s greatest Operating System success is a bit cliche as well. Windows XP has truly had a glorious run for a major revision of OS Kernel and User Interface. However, it’s not hard to agree that the business case for continuing to support it has faded to nothing. Microsoft has been warning the public for well over 7 years that they need to retire Windows XP and it is now over 2.5 years beyond the 10 years that was originally promised for support in the service terms document. Don’t get me wrong, I know many technical users who depend on Windows XP native applications for their livelihood. Applications that have never been updated to run on anything but Windows XP in many cases. Windows XP was the greatest, but the scales have tipped in the direction of liability. It’s time has passed.

So what is a dedicated Windows XP user to do? Well, my advice is fairly conservative.

  • Make sure all of the Security related patches (updates) have been installed.
  • Consider using a third party Antivirus progrm if you don’t already (just because Microsoft will quit updating Securty Essentials and Firewall for XP as well). Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) supply one with the service at no extra charge, so use that if you can.
  • If you can afford it, get a new computer with a newer OS as soon as possible and start learning how to use it before retiring your Windows XP computer.
  • Most Important!!! Ifyou use Windows XP for banking, bill paying, or online shopping, STOP doing that as soon as possible!
  • Need more help? Click here.

R.I.P Windows XP

BTW: I use a variety of OS (while I use W7 most of the time, my current favorite OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, also obsolete and superseded after 14 months can’t even run on a 32 bit CPU).

Moore’s Law and Data Storage

In 1987, A 10MB Hard Disk Drive for the 8 Bit IBM XT PC could be purchased for about $500.00, a steep decline in cost over the price when first introduced about 5 years earlier. Today, no current mass storage media with such a small capacity is produced. The smallest capacity for a USB Flash “Thumb Drive” sold these days is 1GB and they are under $10.00 in all but the most highly marked up locations, but why even bother when 16GB can be had for less than $10.00 just about anywhere too. But wait there’s more… A common reasonably priced capacity for these things today (February 2014) is 64GB at $30.00, so let’s use that for comparison.

Keep in mind that 1 GB is 1,000 MB, The 64GB USB Thumb Drive has 64,000 MB…

1987: 10MB HDD ~$500.00 = $50.00/MB.
2014: 64GB USB ~$30.00 = $0.00046875/MB (less 5 ten thousandths of a cent per Megabyte).

What does this mean? For this comparison the cost per MB “Megabyte” (1 Million Bytes) [1 Million units of 8 bit data] has decreased by a factor of more than 106,000.

How about a comparison of what you get for the same price? OK so the USB Thumb Drive comparison was chosen for both capacity and performance (Even though it’s about the lowest performing current product it’s still much faster than that old 1987 HDD). Then what does one get for ~$500.00 today? A 1TB SSD can be bought for ~$500.00. That’s 1,000 GB or 1,000,000 MB (it’s One Trillion Bytes). Cost comparison…

1987: 10MB HDD ~$500.00 = $50.00/MB.
2014: 1TB SSD ~$550.00 = $0.00000000055/MB (0.55 billionths of a cent per Megabyte).

As for performance? A comparison is difficult. The 1987 Hard Drive had an “Average Seek Time” of 85ms. The 2014 SSD does not have moving parts and “Seek Time” is largely irrelevant for the speed of electrons over a few mm distance. A more fair comparison is Data Transfer Rate…

1987: 10MB HDD 5MB/second.
2014: 1TB SSD 520MB/second.

Therefore, cost has dropped by about one Trillion percent and performance has increased by 10,400%.

Also the SSD is inherently durable while the old HDD was very fragile. Projected lifespan is measured in MTBF “Mean Time Before Failure” (a weighted average of the typical endurance of the product)…

1987: 10MB HDD 11,000 Hours (1.25 years) They actually typically lasted 10 to 15 years.
2014: 1TB SSD 1,500,000 Hours (171 Years).

In Summary: Most factors have been have been close to Moore’s law (Doubling in performance or capacity every 18 months) or a bit better, cost has dropped at a far more rapid pace than that!